By Keith Idec
Canelo Alvarez’s suspension for testing positive twice for a performance-enhancing drug could last at least one year.
In accordance with Nevada State Athletic Commission rules adjusted in September 2016, that’s the minimum penalty for a first-time offense of the commission’s prohibition of anabolic agents, clenbuterol in Alvarez’s case. The NSAC also allows for that minimum one-year suspension to be shortened by six months if the offender fully cooperates with the NSAC’s investigation and procedures.
A six-month suspension, retroactive to the date of Alvarez’s first failed test, would end after August 17 because Alvarez failed two tests administered by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association on February 17 and February 20. That scenario would leave Alvarez eligible to fight Gennady Golovkin or someone else in mid-September, one of the two times of the year during which Alvarez has fought in recent years.
Regardless, it appears less likely by the day that the rematch between Alvarez (49-1-2, 34 KOs) and Golovkin (37-0-1, 33 KOs) will take place May 5 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The revelation Thursday of the complaint NSAC executive director Bob Bennett signed against Alvarez on Tuesday put the high-profile pay-per-view event in greater jeopardy.
Alvarez is expected to appear either in person or on the phone for his hearing with the five-member NSAC on April 18 in Las Vegas. The Mexican superstar and his handlers contend that Alvarez’s positive tests were triggered by eating contaminated meat in his home country.
The meat contamination issue in Mexico has helped fellow Mexican boxers Erik Morales and Francisco Vargas avoid suspensions and fines for testing positive for PEDs. It is unusual, however, for the NSAC to sign a complaint against a fighter for PED use without issuing a suspension.
The commission temporarily suspended Alvarez on Friday and initially set April 10 as the date for his hearing, just 3½ weeks before he is scheduled to challenge Golovkin again for middleweight supremacy. That hearing was pushed back eight more days Thursday, until April 18, but Bennett told ESPN.com that the NSAC would accommodate Alvarez on April 10 if he prefers that date.
Meanwhile, Golovkin’s handlers are preparing for the possibility of the IBF/IBO/WBA/WBC champion facing an opponent other than Alvarez on May 5. Former super welterweight champion Demetrius Andrade (25-0, 16 KOs), IBF mandatory challenger Sergiy Derevyanchenko (12-0, 10 KOs) and Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan (27-2, 19 KOs) are among the available replacements who’ve expressed interest publicly in substituting for Alvarez if his suspension is extended.
Alvarez, 27, and Kazakhstan’s Golovkin, 35, fought to a controversial 12-round draw September 16 at T-Mobile Arena. Their rematch is considered the biggest bout on boxing’s calendar in the United States this year.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.